There's been a lot of debate in the pregnancy world lately concerning elective c-sections. The fact is, a caesarean section is a major surgery, one that the World Health Organization has stated is happening far too often in the United States. According to the WHO, there's not a region in this world that should have a c-section rate higher than 15%. However, here in the United States, the c-section rate reached 29.1% in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it's a good idea to avoid having a c-section for non-medical reasons, there are plenty of medical reasons to skip a vaginal delivery.
For the Health of the Mother or Baby
Many c-sections are performed due to a critical health problem, while other times they are planned based on an ongoing medical condition. Health problems and medical emergencies during pregnancy can be life threatening for both mother and child. These include placenta previa, placental abruption, uterine rupture, diabetes, and preeclampsia. In addition, genital herpes in the mother and birth defects in the child can also lead to a necessary c-section.
During labor, problems can arise that were unforeseen, and in some cases a c-section must be performed in order to protect the baby. These situations include a baby is in the breech position, cord prolapse, failure of labor to progress, and fetal distress. Cephalopelvic Disproportion, or when the child's head is too large or the mother's pelvis too small, may also require a c-section.
Women who are carrying more than one child, especially three or more, will likely have a c-section in order to ensure a safe labor and delivery for all. Children will be delivered based on their positions and weights.
If you are considering a c-section for non-medical reasons, talk to your doctor. Together you should weigh the risks and benefits and discuss any fears or concerns you may have about delivering vaginally. Even if you have delivered by c-section in the past, you may still be able to deliver another child vaginally. Every pregnancy is different and you and your doctor need to decide what is best for the health and safety of you and your child.